Full implementation of the new Law on Enforcement and Security (the „Law“) will start as of 1 July 2016. However, certain provisions of the Law have already entered into force end of December 2015, so the Law prescribes obligations for enforcement creditors even before the full implementation of the new enforcement regulations, primarily in terms of submitting mandatory declaration and consequences thereof.
Namely, the period in which the creditors are in obligation to declare, if they wish that their enforcement procedures is to be conducted by the Court or Public Bailiff, begins as of 1 May 2016 and ends on the date of entry into force of the Law, i.e. 1 July 2016. In particular, the obligation to declare relates to those creditors who obtained in their favor a decision (on enforcement or security) back in time when Bailiffs have not begun to operate, provided that the subject enforcement proceeding is still not concluded until 1 May 2016. Therefore, one of the criteria of importance for establishing the need for mandatory declaration is the moment of introducing Bailiffs into domestic legal system. Bailiffs have officially commenced to operate in May 2012, however not all Bailiffs were simultaneously appointed in territories of all Courts, so it is initially necessary to determine in each particular situation from which moment in particular territory Bailiffs were actually appointed and operative. In the course of analysis of each file it is also required to verify if exclusive Court competence for conducting enforcement exists, in which case creditor’s declaration is not needed.
As the consequence in case of passivity of the creditor is significant, i.e. involves cessation of the enforcement proceeding, an appropriate analysis of all “old” enforcement files ought to be performed, and if the obligation of declaration exists, the Court needs to be notified to avoid proceeding cessation, whilst the analysis should encompass enforcement proceedings dating not just before May 2012 but also a certain interval after, taking into account above stated fact on different periods of introducing Bailiffs in certain territories in Serbia. At the end, we point out that in case of opting for a Bailiff the obligation for advanced costs payment of the Bailiff arises.
The main intention of the legislator when setting out the above was to relieve the courts and activate the “old” enforcement proceedings which are ”on hold” for a while. However, one of the consequences is definitely additional expense for enforcement creditors who are already long awaiting realization of their claims and whose chances for collection from debtor are already significantly reduced due to time lapse. In this regard, we expect a certain number of creditors to remain passive, either due to insufficient acquaintance with the new legislation, or due to their assessment that additional expenses are not justified in their case.